In Supersport 600 Qualifying Azlan Shah showed his class early in the session, running in the early 1:39s, ahead of Yamaha Thailand’s Decha Kraisart and Chalermpol Polamai, Ahmad Yudhistira, Zaqhwan Zaidi and Anthony West, who carried their strong form through from Free Practice.
With 12 minutes remaining, Decha pulled out a sensational lap of 1:38.641 to go half a second clear of Azlan. Sensing it was enough, he pulled into the pits, took his helmet off and watched the rest of the session on the TV monitors. Chalermpol edged to within a few thousandths of the Malaysian’s Kawasaki, shadowed by Yuki Ito, who looked like he was trying to work out where the Thai former champion was getting his half second advantage on the 4.5 kilometre circuit.
Decha’s best lap did indeed prove to be unassailable and he is joined on the front row by Azlan and Chalermpol. The Manual Tech Kawasaki of Yudhistra ended up fourth ahead of the MUSASHI Boon Siew Honda of Zaqhwan and the ever threatening Akeno Speed Yamaha of Anthony West. Taiga Hada was seventh fastest with a lap of 1:39.640 on his RAMA Honda, just a few hundredths faster than AP Honda’s Ratthapong and Yamaha Racing’s Yuki Ito, who make up Row 3.
Decha will be looking to delight his home fans in Race 1 by following up his recent World Supersport second place at Chang International Circuit with a win this afternoon. Despite his qualifying performance, the pace of Azlan Shah throughout the event so far and the sheer speed of Chalermpol, mean that Decha will be facing a stern test. The injured Zaqhwan will also be looking for a podium position, while the quality and experience Anthony West keeps him squarely in the frame. Yudhistira is also capable of making the top three on his day.